Blood Born (Vampire, #1) by Linda Howard and Linda Winstead Jones

Published April 27th 2010 by Ballantine Books, Mass Market Paperback, 480 pages, ISBN13: 9780345520760

When the human and the vampire worlds collide

Luca Ambrus is a rare breed: He is a vampire from birth, begotten by vampire parents: blood born. He is also an agent of the Council—the centuries-old cabal that governs vampirekind, preserving their secrecy and destroying those who betray them.

When a cryptic summons leads him to the scene of the brutal killing of a powerful Council member, Luca begins the hunt for an assassin among his own people. But instead of a lone killer he discovers a sinister conspiracy of rogue vampires bent on subjugating the mortal world.

All that stands in their way are the conduits, humans able to channel spirit warriors into the physical world to protect mankind. Chloe Fallon is a conduit—and a target of the vampire assassin who’s killing them. When Luca saves her life, an irresistible bond of trust—along with more passionate feelings—is forged between them. As more victims fall, Chloe and Luca have only each other to depend on to save the world from the reign of monsters—and salvage their own future together.

**Spoiler Alert!** If you plan on reading the book, do not continue reading this review. … Okay, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Luca Ambrus, a vampire of over two thousand years old, is in Scotland, taking a little time off, so to speak. While he prefers the hussle and bussle of the city, at times, he needs the calming effect that his place in Scotland brings to him. The peace, the quiet. He’s lived a long life, a blood born, the son of vampire parents. Stronger than most vampires alive, he works for the Council, dispatching rogue vampires. Vampires who believe that humans are nothing but sheep, chattel, food, that they’re higher up in the food chain. Luca believes in leaving the world as it is: where humans don’t believe in things that go bump in the night.

But a war is brewing. A Rebellion has formed, and now they’ve found a descendant of the witch that cast a spell a very long time ago. This spell prevents vampires from entering a human’s home without an invitation. And once this spell is broken, the Rebellion will bring war with the humans in full force, showing the humans what they are truly meant to be.

However, the Warriors, spirits that lie in wait for each and every war, are whispering, talking, pleading with their conduits to bring them to their world. Conduits are descendants of the Warriors, and only the conduits can bring them across from their plain of existence.

Chloe Fallon is one such conduit. But she believes she’s slowly going nuts. Dreams, whispers are keeping her awake, for when she sleeps, the dreams and whispers grow stronger.

Luca is called by a longtime friend on the council, Hector. He’s certain that a Rebellion faction is forming, and asks Luca to come immediately. But Hector is murdered before he can arrive, but left enough clues with his powers to plainly show Luca his killer. But Enoch is only a foot-soldier to a higher power, and Luca plans to follow him, to see what Enoch can tell him.

The Rebellion queen, known as Regina to protect her true identity, has coerce Jonas’s help. He’s helped the council before, and she knows he has the power to do what she wants – find the location to all the conduits. If the conduits are killed, the Warriors cannot cross over, thereby ensuring the Rebellion wins the war.

But when Enoch attacks Chloe, and whispers to her, Luca hears it all, and defeats Enoch. But another surprise lies await for Luca – for Chloe can remember him. It is one of Luca’s gifts as a blood born vampire. No one remembers him the moment they turn their back. Only a very strong vampire can. It’s been a lonely life for Luca, but he’s accustomed to it. When Chloe remembers him, it’s a blow; even Glamour doesn’t work on her the way it should. There is something truly different about Chloe. The more time he spends with her, the more time he realizes she’s a conduit. The more information he gathers, the more he’s sure that there’s a Rebellion faction in the works, and the more he’s sure that the Queen, is none other than a member of the Council.

So now Luca’s job is two-fold. Not only does he have to stop the Rebellion to prevent a war, he needs to keep Chloe safe. For more reasons than one… Chloe has gotten under his skin. Even in the face of danger, she holds her head high, no matter how scared she is. She’s lived in danger all her life. A small aneurysm too dangerously close to her heart cannot be operated on, and the threat of it bursting is always there. Chloe is determined to live life to the fullest each day. Luca has never met a human like her before, and she’s gotten even more under his skin… she’s dangerously close to his heart.

**A great story, but could have used more.

I loved Luca in this story. To watch him see the world anew through Chloe’s eyes. Sure, Luca is a very old, very strong, very dangerous vampire, but Chloe is unlike anyone he’s ever met, vampire or human. Realizing what she means to this world, he vows to protect her at all costs.

Now, most who know me know I’m a paranormal nut. Paranormal in any form. There’s a mystery here, and it’s a good one. I sort of had an inkling of who the rebel queen was, but it wasn’t until one last clue is thrown to the reader do you really know who she is before seeing her real name. The mystery part is pretty good. So’s the action, the fighting. But one thing bugged the living daylights out of me.

For a paranormal-romance, I didn’t feel the romance. Luca and Chloe bonding together was an added measure for Chloe to be stronger, to help defend herself, even if only for a few seconds. While I felt a love start to grow, I felt no romance whatsoever.

And just once, I’d like to see the hero and the heroine declare their love for each other before the inevitable “about to lose the love of their life” confession happens. Just once. Anyone know of an author who can indulge me with that one?

Watching Sorin come to the realization that the queen would destroy even him, if he was in her way, was sort of bittersweet. I just wish he’d come to the realization a different way.

What I really liked was the difference in the play of the vampire world that Howard and Jones created. First, the old saying “a vampire cannot entire a home without an invitation” has been around for years/centuries, I liked how they tweeked it a little, but mentioning that it was a spell cast by a very strong witch a very long time ago. I liked that twist.

I liked how the young witch, Nevada, managed to outsmart the queen somewhat.

And I especially liked how Chloe managed to get a couple of good licks at the queen herself before and after receiving a strike from the queen that insured her death. Even while Chloe lay dying, she still managed to get one last “in your face” to the queen (ha! In your face… if you read the book, you’ll catch the unintended pun.)

The ending is a sure set up for book number two, which is what I’d expected. You can’t have a story end completely and expect to write a second book. Kudos to Howard and Jones on a book worth reading.


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